They say you’re only as strong as your weakest soldier, or as beautiful as your biggest wart, or whatever the hell the euphemism is, so in the interest of full disclosure (warts and all) I wanted to reach out to Gonzo readers for help—help that, luckily for you, doesn’t involve donations of wine, kidneys or first borns. If, in the end, it’s your help that gets me where I want to go, I’ll happily consider a thank-you gift of wine, a kidney or my first born.
I’ve never wanted to do anything in my life as much as I’ve wanted to publish a book. In fact, half the reason I started this blog was to hone my skills, gain an audience and use it as a springboard to a book. And silly me, I was green enough to think that the very essence of this blog—the entire gastronomic world (not just wine or food) served up Gonzo style—was enough to base a book on. Cork dorks, after all, are usually foodies, and vice versa. Same goes for craft beer/spirits lovers, etc. A book that touched on gastronomy as a whole, rather than just one topic, seemed like a slam dunk because nothing like it exists. In fact, nothing like me really exists anyway, since the majority of writing in the food/beverage section of any major bookstore is dedicated to educational pursuits, which wouldn’t be such a bad thing if they were also entertaining…but they’re not…at all. Op/Ed simply doesn’t exist, especially in the world of fine beverage. And though the food world has writers like Anthony Bourdain that serve as the voice of dissidence, there’s little else. But there’s a need, isn’t there? Are we happy with the state of food/wine writing as it stands, or do we clamor for something more?
But I hit a SNAFU—not small by any means—known as literary agents. Apparently a shitload of them love my writing and think I’m “publishable” but they think my book proposal blows chunks. Ahh, the devil’s in the details, ain’t he? Writing about the many mavericks in the gastronomic field and whether those mavericks should be lauded or shot, is apparently not what a literary agent thinks will sell. Gonzo Gastronomy: The Angels & Demons of Food & Wine, as it stands right now, is a fish flopping on the ship’s deck, gasping for life. Mouth to mouth anyone? Here’s what I need from you…
If Gonzo became a book, what would you want out of it? What kind of a read would you want it to be? Topics? Point of view? Focus? Am I totally nuts to take a blog like this to the printed page? Did I lose something in translation? If you picked up a book with a chapter on Food Network’s fall from grace, a chapter on the underground mezcal revolution, a chapter on Champagne’s mutiny, and a chapter on extreme beers would you start salivating to read more or would you toss it into a fire and ask where Michael Pollan’s latest diatribe is?
In a blogosphere that’s filled with inane tasting notes and recipes, I set out to create one that didn’t get lost in the din. I wanted to establish myself as a writer that doesn’t fear reprisal from the industry, that distances herself from mainstream media, and that welcomes controversy with both open arms and a middle finger. I truly thought that readers wanted something more than an education in gastronomy—they wanted a visceral dissertation on what gastronomy does…move us. But I could be wrong (it hasn’t happened yet, but stranger things have happened). My readership is all over the map…foodies, wine geeks, craft beer lovers, gypsies, tramps, thieves, whatever. What the hell do YOU want out of a Gonzo book, if in fact you want anything at all?